What Is Median Rhomboid Glossitis?

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  • Written By: Helena Reimer
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2016
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Also known as central papillary atrophy, median rhomboid glossitis is one of the cutaneous conditions that affects the organ system. In this case, the affected organ is the tongue, which can appear smooth and inflamed. The condition can also cause raised bumps, fissures, and discolorations on the tongue. Due to the appearance of the lesions, median rhomboid glossitis is often mistaken for a cancerous tumor. Treatments, other than antifungal treatments, are generally not given for this condition.

The condition can affect adults, as well as young children and nursing infants. In most cases, the lesions appear toward the center and back of the tongue. The infected area resembles the shape of a rhomboid and usually is not larger than 3/4 inch (about 2 cm). The papillae generally disappear in that particular area, which then causes the tongue to appear smooth and inflamed. The tongue can also appear red, have yellow spots, or have a white coating.

Median rhomboid glossitis causes are unknown, however, the condition has been linked to a candida overgrowth. Candida tends to create an environment that generally results in poor oral health as it prevents harmful bacteria from being washed away. Another possible cause might be excess force exerted from the tongue during speaking or swallowing.


At one point, it was believed that this condition occurred due to a birth defect. The theory, however, has been dismissed because the condition is more commonly discovered in adults. In general, the condition does not seem to be contagious, but in rare cases, it can be contracted by an individual with a weak immune system.

Information regarding changes in diet and lifestyle as well as a medical history can help in diagnosing median rhomboid glossitis. Tests can be done to rule out other possible diseases, such as cancer, geographic tongue, and candida. A lack of nutrients and chemical burns are also considered because they can also cause similar lesions to appear on the tongue.

Common median rhomboid glossitis treatment involves the use of antifungal remedies. These remedies are given in cases when candida is present, as it helps eliminate the candida and the inflammation associated with it. Dentures and other mouth appliances are also treated with the antifungal treatments to stop the candida from spreading. Although these treatments can help clear the candida, they are not always effective at clearing the lesions. Raised lesions can be effectively removed with surgery.


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Post 1

I have also read that using corticosteroid sprays and inhalers may make someone more predisposed to tongue glossitis.

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